Popchops is a monthly club night, DJ duo, and way-of-life. At Popchops, we make no apologies for our undying worship of pop. We don’t like it when pop is belittled, made to feel like a lesser genre, or described as a guilty pleasure: pop has feelings.
It’s Eurovision month, and to celebrate, we’ve asked our Facebook group to nominate and vote for their top entries of all time. The results were, unsurprisingly, iconic.
1. LOREEN – EUPHORIA (SWEDEN, 2012)
In the best possible way, Eurovision isn’t exactly known for its ‘cool’ factor – but in 2012 Loreen managed to combine her enigmatic, icy, Scandi-pop aesthetic with the competition’s more-is-more ethos. “Euphoria” is a pure rush of endorphins to the head. The stripped-back, slightly ominous verses make way for the exhilarating trance-pop chorus, with Loreen’s husky, commanding vocals as the centrepiece. Never playing by the rules, she spoke out about human rights issues in 2012’s host country Azerbaijan, but despite the controversy, she went on to win the competition. This feels correct.
2. GINA G – OOH AAH… JUST A LITTLE BIT (UK, 1996)
Gina G was an unknown Melbourne DJ and songwriter when she entered the reality TV competition A Song For Europe and won, becoming the UK’s Eurovision entrant in 1996. “…Just a Little Bit” didn’t win the competition, but it did storm the charts after, reaching the top spot in the UK and, randomly, Israel. The track is a quintessential ‘90s track – with an obnoxiously perky synth line, tinny beats, Gina G’s effervescent vocals and house touches throughout. In short, it’s impossible not to love.
3. DAMI IM – SOUND OF SILENCE (AUSTRALIA, 2016)
There’s no way Australia was ever meant to do this well at Eurovision, but the rest of the world weren’t aware of our secret weapon – the inimitable pipes of Dami Im. The track itself is essentially a big, cheesy ballad, with dramatic heartbeat-mimicking drums and borderline cringey lyrics (shout-out to “tryna feel your love through Facetime”). Yet it’s the perfect vehicle for a huge belting voice like Dami’s, whose vocals were even more jaw-dropping during the live performances. “Sound of Silence” was beaten out by Ukraine’s comparatively ‘meh’ entry “1944”, making 2016 the first official year Australia was robbed at Eurovision.
4. ELENI FOUREIRA – FUEGO (CYPRUS, 2018)
Almost immediately after splitting from her girl group Mystique in 2009, Eleni Foureira set her sights on Eurovision. But after several failed attempts to represent Greece she eventually competed in 2018 for Cyprus. The track placed second behind Netta’s “Toy” (which came in at #11 on this poll, FYI), making Foureira the country’s highest-ranking entrant of all time. And it’s no surprise – “Fuego” (Fire) is a total banger. Sure, it has a dance-by-numbers millennial pop structure, with a post chorus instrumental breakdown and quasi-tropical beats, but who really cares when it’s this much fun?
5. ABBA – WATERLOO (SWEDEN, 1974)
If Waterloo hadn’t been voted top five, this article would have been cancelled – immediately. It’s one of the most iconic and recognisable Eurovision songs of all time. In fact, it’s become so entrenched in music and camp culture I almost don’t feel qualified to write about it (but I’m going to). “Waterloo” reached the number one spot in nine countries (although strangely not in their native Sweden) and went on to become one of the best-selling singles of all time. It’s a track about surrendering to a lover, with crashing piano riffs, a horn section and one of ABBA’s trademark bittersweet melodies. An early blueprint of pop perfection.
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